On a drive through the forested preserves and mountain towns of the Appalachians, one family discovers lesser-known trails, regional artisans, and sustainably-sourced restaurants.

Our son and daughter, Devan and Diya, heard the waterfall before they saw it. Spilling over rocks and flowing into a river, we discovered the rushing water just off the Lynn Camp Middle Prong Trail in Tennessee’s Great Smoky Mountains. Soon enough, our kids had left the trail and were dipping their toes in the waterfall’s pool and looking for salamanders.

Our guide, David Harlow, who works with hiking outfitter Smoky Mountain Guides, chose this lesser known path through the Lynn Camp Prong Cascades over the larger and more popular Laurel Falls nearby to give my family of four the experience of being out in the wilderness alone. Indeed, when we visited Laurel Falls the next morning, my family had to join the line of hikers waiting to snap pictures in front of the 80-foot waterfall. All four of us agreed that it was impressive, but my kids didn’t get to have the intimate moment with nature that the quieter Lynn Camp Prong Cascades had offered them.


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